Belgrade, June 1, 2020 – For the sixth consecutive year, in cooperation with UNICEF, Color Media Communications held a conference dedicated to corporate social responsibility called ‘CSR Serbia 2020’.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the conference ‘CSR Serbia 2020 – Social Responsibility in Times of Crisis ‘ was held online for the first time, and the viewers could watch it and actively participate in it via live stream on Color Media Communications‘ YouTube channel.
This year’s conference focused on the future of CSR, the latest trends and challenges. We learned about the socially responsible business of companies during the pandemic. In the new situation, we saw the need for a quick response of the whole system and solidarity in every sense, as well as the importance of volunteerism as one of the ways to help the community. We also talked about how companies allowed their employees to work from home and intensified their socially responsible activities when the people needed it the most.
Maja Gojković, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, officially opened the conference by saying: “During the fight against the COVID-19 virus, the state has demonstrated that it can react well in difficult times and that it can cope with modern challenges by making responsible decisions, for which no state, even those more developed than Serbia, was ready,” Ms Gojković said.
She added that most of the citizens understood how important that fight was and went on to say that numerous examples of solidarity testify to that. According to her, responsible individuals, including public figures, as well as campaigns that showed how important humanity is in such circumstances were an important part of the society’s joint response.
“The measure of success of every modern company is certainly the care it shows for the community of which it is a part. At the same time, citizens want to see a more humane face of companies which products they buy and services they use,” Ms Gojković added.
Regina De Dominicis, Director of UNICEF in Serbia, spoke after Maja Gojković: “How companies reacted and how they behaved during the crisis caused by the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus will significantly affect their rating and the entire business in the future,” Ms De Dominicis said.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Serbia, H.E. Jan Lundin also spoke at the conference and said the following: “For Swedish companies that have been focusing on the development of their sustainable business, CSR is one of the main tools, because it boosts their competitiveness and contributes to the good image of Sweden. Therefore, both the state and companies believe that CSR is a matter of trade policy, as well as a question of how to promote Sweden. ”
The participants of the first panel called “Socially responsible business during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic”, moderated by Director of Diplomacy and Commerce magazine, Ruža Veljović, were the following: Marija Vujanić, Communications and Sustainability Director, Telenor Serbia, Tijana Koprivica, Chief Business Sustainability Officer, Delta Holding, Aldo Lélé, Sustainability Manager for South-East Europe, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine, Ikea, and Milica Babić, Deputy Director of Marketing Communications and PR, Vojvođanska Banka.
Marija Vujanić from Telenor underlined the following: “In addition to donations, it was important for us to help in what is our core business. We offered a large amount of free Internet and free telephone calls to pupils and students who attended online classes. I am glad that other companies acted in the same or similar way at the moment when that was imperative.”
Aldo Lélé, Sustainability Manager for South-East Europe at Ikea, said the following: “We can instigate a change on our own, but only with joint efforts can we create a result and action, which has been shown even in the current circumstances. Our company’s guiding idea will always be to help the most vulnerable people around the world who are always in our hearts and minds,” Mr Lélé said.
The following were the participants in the second panel called “CSR in the COVID-19 era: examples of good practice and new directions of development”: Miloš Paunović, CSR Specialist, Nordeus, Jasmina Ilić, Corporate Affairs Director of TeleGroup, Branislav Jovanović, Social Responsibility Manager of Banca Intesa and Ivana Todorović, Marketing and Communications Manager of OTP Banka Serbia. The panel was moderated by Milica Marković, Corporate Communications Manager, Direct Media.
The third panel was dedicated to the future of CSR, trends, challenges and implications. We heard the opinions of experts such as Miloš Janković, Communications Manager of the Catalyst Balkans Foundation, Neven Marinović, Executive Director of Smart Kolektiv, Siniša Mitrović, Advisor to the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, and Vesna Savić Đukić, Fundraising Specialist, UNICEF Serbia. The panel was moderated by Vanja Kovačev, PR specialist.
Vesna Savić Đukić from UNICEF pointed the following out: “UNICEF has the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world which is collaborating with over a thousand suppliers of various types of equipment that is required in emergencies. We have that kind of advantage. In addition to the development programmes we are working on, we also provide support to emergency programmes.”
The conference was supported by UNICEF and companies Telenor Serbia and IKEA.
You can see the entire conference by clicking on the following link.